Hakkasan: Hanway Place, London

If I had to make a bad pun, I’d say Hakkasan is not a Kiwi dancing in Japan (but I didn’t say that). After a grand meal at Gold Mine, the urge to try something upmarket in the Chinese contingency led us to the long standing  and well known original Hakkasan, started by the legendary Alan Yau (Yauatcha, Busaba Eathai, Wagamama, Sake No Hana, amongst others). Once down the eerily grey and quiet staircase, the restaurant itself greets you with a sleek and bustling surprise, winding you through the labyrinth of tables and dim lighting. The menu gleefully boasts an array of temptations without extending into a voluminous collection of paper (always a good thing!)

Veggie dimsum
Chicken & abalone
Poussin

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Being quite keen to see what the veggie options might reveal, we went in for the Vegetarian dim sum platter, consisting of  crystal dumpling, vegetable shumai, yam bean and shiitake dumpling, vegetable beancurd roll, with a wee bit of chilli and garlic sauce to dip into. Thankfully, they all had their own personalities and flavours, each with its own nuances, with the yam bean and shiitake one being our favourite.

Next up was the marinated abalone with corn fed chicken and jellyfish, served cold. At first there wasn’t much to this plate, but as one went on and the ingredients came up to room temperature and had time to soak in the marinating liquid, it did get better, with the jellyfish being imparting a surprising crunchiness and delicacy akin to fugu.

Our main course was decidedly full of chillies, Sanpei corn fed poussin claypot with sweet basil, chilli and spring onion and it disappeared fairly hastily owing to the  buoyancy of its ingredients and execution – perfect with a bowl of stick rice, and the chillies, indeed were hot as we found out after gnawing on one!

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Petit fours

After excitedly waiting for the dessert menu in the expectation that there would be, like Yauatcha, similarly Chinese inpired desserts. Our hearts sank when the menu was a staid and boring selection of ‘common’ dishes. Instead we opted for the petit four plate (you have to pay £8.50), which whilst ludicrous, we thought would be smashing! Well, we got 4 greasy flavourless madelines, 2 salted caramel truffles (bought in) and 4 little sticks of chocolate that looked like they had tumours (turns out the tumours were popping candy, but it had gone soft, so failed to razzle dazzle). Advice: avoid anything after the main course at Hakkasan! Even the desserts the table next to us got, looked about as interesting as a brick.

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Overall experience: 7
Food: 7 (not taking the petit fours into account)
Recommend you go: 6
Website
Hakkasan Hanway Place on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

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